- “I'll catch the rabbit, Mr. Valiant, and I'll try him, convict him, and execute him.”
- ―Judge Doom
Judge Doom, formerly known as Baron Von Rotten, is the main antagonist in Disney/Touchstone's 1988 hybrid film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He was portrayed by Christopher Lloyd.
Doom is the much-feared Judge of Toontown. Despite presiding over a city of Toons, Doom is totally without mirth and passes capital punishment on Toons who break the law, placing them in a chemical vat of turpentine, acetone and benzene (essentially oil, paint thinner and film dissolver) which he dubs "the Dip". This concoction melts Toons, permanently killing them. He wears gloves supposedly to avoid the mess (but as it is soon revealed, it is actually to prevent himself from melting). He employs Toon henchmen (the Toon Patrol) to assist him in hunting down Roger Rabbit for the murder of Marvin Acme, which he framed for the act he did himself.
Doom displayed two very different personalities in the film, both equally menacing to his enemies.
Doom is a calm and reserved man without mercy and brutally executes those who he perceives as guilty or stand in his way. He is also cruel to the Toon Patrol and mainly abuses them with his cane although he only hits two members. First he hits Smarty round the head with his cane after he continued laughing and then he hit Greasyround the head after his hand was caught in a hunting trap. He has an ambition to erase Toontown in order to create a freeway due to its profit and potential benefits; buying and then dismantling the "red car" to avoid competition and taking money from his theft at the bank to launch the project. He also proves to exhibit a cunning personality, as he lures Roger out of hiding with the "shave and a haircut" trick. He had a Hitler complex which he tries to deny to the extent of disguising himself as a human to try to rid the world of Toons, despite being one himself. However, when he was being run over, he acts like a Toon (screaming incomprehensible noises in fear) and does not deny it once the jig was up, but "not just any Toon..."
After Doom reinflates himself with an oxygen tank and reveals himself as the killer of Eddie's brother Teddy, telling him why he should not remember his eyes, but his voice (which grows higher until it reaches a horrifyingly high pitch) and his eyes turn to daggers ready to kill him. Though he doesn't talk again until his demise, he pursues Eddie when he tries to run away, reactivates the cannon to melt Roger and Jessica Rabbit once he was pushed to the ground, punching Eddie with an anvil, turning it into an buzz saw to demonstrate how lethal it was and swirling his eyes with a wide grin as he was gradually came closer to killing Eddie. All these traits show that he was a deranged and sadistic psychopath who enjoys making his victims watch as their friends die and loves to kill them slowly in the most agonizing way. He does have a fear of death, as he instantly panicked as soon as the Dip hit him and screamed as he melted.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit Edit
When the film first introduces Doom, Lt. Santino confides to Eddie that Doom bought the election. Later, at the Terminal Bar, Doom uses the "shave and a haircut" trick to lure Roger out, then prepares to execute him. After a brief scuffle inside the bar, he orders the weasels to capture Roger and Eddie. Roger realizes he's in trouble with Doom after him and begs Eddie to hide him. When Eddie learns that studio head R.K. Maroon is connected to the plot to frame Roger, Eddie interrogates him, but Maroon pleads that he is "a dead man" if he confesses. Just as Maroon is about to spill everything, he is killed by an unseen gunman who nearly shoots Eddie as well.
Upon chasing the killer to Toontown, Eddie catches Jessica, thinking she's the murderer, but Jessica reveals that Doom was the one who killed Acme and Maroon. At the film's climax, he traps Eddie, Roger and Jessica in the Acme Factory to explain his scheme: erase Toontown from the map using a giant, mobile vat of dip linked to a high-pressure water cannon and then build a freeway over it. He then plans to retire from being a judge and control all the profits from the new road system. Doom also reveals that he is the sole stockholder ofCloverleaf Industries and explains that he bought the "red car" (the Pacific Electric Railway) for the sole purpose of putting it out of commission. He then orders Jessica and Roger to be tied up and raised into the air via a skyhook to be sprayed by the dip cannon.
Eddie distracts the Toon Patrol using hilarious antics (partly while singing The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down to the accompaniment of a music machine playing the tune) to make them literally laugh themselves to death, then attempts to rescue Roger and Jessica when he is interrupted by Doom. The two men then square off, dueling with various ACME props. During the fight, Judge Doom is run over by a steamroller, but does not die as expected. As the steamroller crushes him, Doom's body is flattened into a flimsy paper-thin shape, revealing himself to be a Toon wearing an assortment of fake, but live, props, such as fake eyeballs, false teeth, and a rubber mask in order to disguise his Toon body. After he reinflates with an oxygen tank, he shows his red toon eyes and talks in a high squeaky voice and Eddie recognizes Doom as the bank robber in Toontown long ago who murdered his brother, Teddy Valiant, thus triggering his hatred towards Toons and explaining how Doom managed to buy the judicial election and the trolley car company.
Being a Toon, Doom turns out to be capable of sprouting an anvil and an extendable buzz saw from his hand, with which he attempts to kill Eddie. In the end, Eddie proves to be too clever, using his own concoction to melt him, leaving behind his human disguise. Doom melts away screaming "I'm melting! Melting!" before he dies. A crowd of various Toons then surround his burned empty suit and melted face and wonder what kind of Toon he was. It hasn't been revealed what type of Toon he was or if he was one specific type of Toon at all, but the Toons seem to agree that they don't need to know and decide to live happily ever after when Marvin Acme's will suddenly appears in Roger's possession, granting full ownership of Toontown to its citizens.
The Resurrection of Doom Edit
In the graphic novel Roger Rabbit: The Resurrection of Doom, it is explained that Doom was originally a Toon named Baron von Rotten, who took up the role of playing antagonists in movies, until an accident in which Von Rotten suffered a concussion and awakened believing that he was a real villain. Von Rotten thus begins his crime career, robbing the First National Bank of Toontown, then killing Teddy Valiant by dropping a large piano on his head and spreading the stolen money all over the town in order to buy the election for Judge of Toontown, assuming the new name of Judge Doom.
He was revived by another gang of weasels who, using an old cell and a multiplane camera, were able to revive him, proving that it is possible to revive a Toon. He disguises himself as a director, forcing Roger to purposely tone down his acting in hopes of ruining his career and has other designs in mind for his revenge.
Powers and abilities Edit
In his flesh-and-blood guise, Doom uses his skull-headed swordstick and Acme products to fight Eddie, and overpower him with surprising strength. While in his Toon form, he has evil red eyes and a squeaky voice, and is able to produce an arsenal of tools from his body which he can employ as weapons, including an anvil and buzz saw. He uses springs in his feet to jump far distances, and (like most Toons) can survive anything but his own Dip, which melts him to his death.
- Doom appears to bear some resemblance to Roland Freisler, the notorious Nazi figure who was also a ruthless judge.
- Doom's death is an allusion to the Wicked Witch of the West's death in The Wizard of Oz, as they both melt while shouting "I'm melting!"
- In early drafts for the film, he was revealed to be Man, as in the early drafts Eddie mentions offhand to Roger that the person who killed Teddy was probably the one who killed Bambi's mother. However this dialogue was cut from the film for reasons yet-unknown.
- In the Bonkers series, The Collector is the reverse of Judge Doom. He is a human disguised as a Toon, but shares a similar personality and glasses.
- It should be noted that whenever Judge Doom is shown on-screen, he never blinks. This was likely an allusion to the fact that his face was actually revealed to be a mask.
- It can be noted that three things give away the fact that Doom is a Toon and they are the fact of using the Dip:
- When he first uses it, he wears a rubber glove to protect himself, saying that he wears it to "avoid mess".
- After the Dip gets kicked over by Eddie, he backs away from it
- When he decides to get Benny the Cab off the road so he can capture Eddie and Jessica, he kicks it and keeps a distance from it.
- Other things that give away the fact about Doom being a Toon are:
- When he slips on some fake eyeballs, he doesn't fall directly but slips a few times until he suddenly falls. Normally, a human would fall directly after slipping once, as Eddie did.
- When he gets back on his feet after falling, he hides one of his eyes, not because it is in pain, but so as to conceal his actual red Toon eyes with the fake ones he is wearing.
- Looking closely you can see that Doom always has an ominous wind gently rustling at his clothes, even indoors and when the human characters' clothes stay still.
- Eddie states that Doom's 'Lamebrain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a Toon'.
- Originally, Tim Curry was considered for the role of Doom, but the writers were afraid that viewers would find him too terrifying. However, even with Lloyd being cast as Doom instead, viewers still find him very frightening, especially considering the fact that even if he was cast as a villain, most of Christopher Lloyd's roles were often comic relief, something Judge Doom isn't.